Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Holiday Baking with Nielsen-Massey...Featuring Dark Chocolate Peppermint Brownie Bites #nielsenmassey #peppermint #brownies #chocolate #holidaybaking

During the holiday season, I'm all about the peppermint! I'm always looking for fun new peppermint treats to try out in my kitchen. My friends at Nielsen-Massey recently sent me bottles of their Pure Peppermint Extract and Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract to whip up a fun and tasty holiday treat. Unlike other brands of peppermint extract I've tried, Nielsen-Massey's doesn't overpower the other ingredients in a dish. It contains two simple ingredients: pure peppermint oil and alcohol. Nielsen-Masses uses a proprietary cold extraction process to preserve their Madagascar Bourbon vanilla's 250 (!!) flavor compounds. The end result is warm and velvety -- making it simply perfect for holiday baking.

When I saw a recipe for Dark Chocolate Brownie Bites on the Nielsen-Massey website that used both of these extracts, I immediately decided to whip up a batch. A quick one-bowl homemade mini brownie is filled with a simple peppermint filling...the drizzled with chocolate ganache and sprinkled with chopped peppermint. It's an ideal holiday treat! Don't be intimidated by the recipes three components. The filling and ganache are easily made while the brownies bake. Once the cooked brownies cool, filling, drizzling, and topping take just minutes. Love peppermint and chocolate? Then, you'll FLIP for these two-bite treats! 

Dark Chocolate Peppermint Brownie Bites
from the Nielsen-Massey website
Ingredients (makes 24):
Dark Chocolate Brownies:
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp. Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract 
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder

Peppermint Filling:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tsp. Nielsen-Massey Pure Peppermint Extract 

Chocolate Topping:

  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream 
  • 4 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup simple syrup (1/4 cup sugar dissolved in 1/4 cup hot water)
  • 1/2 tsp. Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract 
  • 1/2 cup crushed peppermint candy


Step 1: Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 24-cup mini-muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray -- be sure to use plenty to avoid sticking. In a large bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer until creamy. Add the granulated sugar and brown sugar and beat until fluffy. Next, add the eggs and vanilla extract; mix until combined. Finally, add the salt, flour, and cocoa powder. Mix until a smooth batter is formed.
Step 2: Use a cookie scoop to add brownie batter to the prepared muffin tins. Press the back of a spoon into the brownie batter to create a deep divot. Bake the brownies for 10-12 minutes, until cooked through. Let the brownies cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then carefully remove them from the pan. Transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
Step 3: Combine powdered sugar, heavy cream, and peppermint extract in a medium mixing bowl. Beat with an electric mixer until creamy. If desired, color half of the peppermint filling pink for a fun color contrast. Place a spoon of the peppermint filling into the divot in each brownie bite.
Step 4: Bring the heavy cream to a simmer in a small saucepan over low heat. Add the chocolate chips to the warm cream, along with the simple syrup, vanilla extract, and peppermint extract. Whisk until the chocolate ganache is smooth. Use a spoon to drizzle the ganache over each brownie. Finally, sprinkle a bit of crushed peppermint on top of each drizzled brownie bite.
These bites are peppermint perfection! Rich fudgy brownies...an intense pop of peppermint from the filling, a chocolate drizzle, and crushed peppermint combine for a perfect two-bite delight. These babies are a perfect addition to any holiday sweet trays you're making...and I have it on good authority that Santa would LOVE to see these when he pays you a visit on Christmas Eve!
We're officially one week away from Christmas Eve...so whip up a batch of these minty brownies, light the fireplace, make a mug of hot cocoa, and relax and rejuvenate. Stop to savor the season between all of the hectic errands left on your to-do list!

Disclosure: Nielsen-Massey provided me samples of their Pure Peppermint and Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla extracts to facilitate this post. 

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